October 07, 2014

I’ve Not Yet Seen A Movie That Beats The Book


Last night I finally got round to watch Gone Girl. Ever since the news came out that there was to be a film I had mixed feelings. Of course I wasn’t at all surprised; Gone Girl was the biggest book of 2012. It’s the last book that I read with complete obsession, turning pages dramatically and being genuinely gutted whenever I would reach my stop on the tube. Any spare moment was filled with my nose in that book – the ending disappointed me after being so engrossed in the plot, but to be honest, it was probably just because the book had ended full stop. What ever the end may have been: a neat ending, a cliff-hanger, or a spanner in the works, nothing would have satisfied me, apart from me knowing there would be a Gone Girl: Part 2. It always sucks to finish a really good book. You do a little mourn for your devoured book.

The bit about the “Cool Girl” stayed with me, long after I finished the book. It was so fricking true. I must have re-read it about ten times. I wrote about how much I loved the book here, in early 2013, so I won’t bore you with it again. But I am enjoying some of the articles talking about this fictional “Cool Girl”, because we all relate to the pressures of who she is, but as Helen Coffey said, she doesn’t actually exist. 

The cool girl that eats hamburgers, stays out late, never gets jealous and always stays a size 8. She isn’t real.

I enjoyed the film, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t read the book. This is because:

a) they’ve repackaged the plot as a full on thriller (cert 18), something that mass audiences will enjoy and;

b) I already knew that it would struggle to beat the experience I had of reading the book.

This is, of course, one of the those magical things about reading. The story is yours. You imagine the characters, the scenery, the voices, the thoughts. We already created the “film” in our heads. And then we are watching one of the most famous actors in the world try and recreate the character of Nick Dunne. Affleck did a good job, but it was too Hollywood for me, too shiny. The narration of Amy’s diary entries sounded like the woman who does the Gossip Girl “xoxo” voiceovers. It was too… perfect sounding.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy watching the film. It’s just that it missed out bits , clearly because of the time limit. They ruthlessly cut out some of the best clues of Amy’s treasure hunt, they missed out characters, and they changed bits to make it a bit simpler for first time viewers.

After stewing on it for a bit, I’ve realised I’m more obsessed with Gillian Flynn’s writing of Gone Girl that I am with Gone Girl. I think my love for the book goes back to the fact the Flynn’s writing is so incredible. I’m glad she wrote the screenplay, but of course it was watered down.

I love this article on Mamamia which title reads “Gone Girl Is Not About You”. It seems as though people are obsessed with writing long think-pieces about gender stereotypes, marriage analysis, feminism, sexism, murder, rape. They are interesting reads, but at the end of the day, Gillian Flynn wrote a really really good crime fiction novel. One of the best. It’s not necessarily about us.

On a side note, I got home last night and found her “About Me” section, it’s proper lolz.


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  1. I saw the film last week. I’m a big fan of all Fincher films and this one didn’t disappoint. I’m yet to read the book though. I wish I’d have known about it first; as you say, no movie has ever yet beaten the original book. I am intruded to read Gone Girl now, but it’s not the same afterwards, as the world has already been carved out and the characters already have faces and voices. It’s harder to get fully immersed.

  2. […] post by Girl Lost in the City explains how she was a bit disappointed by the film, because it […]

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